Copper Mountain the ski resort is a relatively new development, although Copper Mountain itself is of course as old as the hills! The ski area has been in operation since 1972, but without an established base-area village it lacked true resort atmosphere for quite some time, functioning instead primarily as a day-trip ski area.
Clever planning and massive investment have helped inject life and soul into the resort and nowadays Copper Mountain is one of the most modern and cutting-edge ski resorts in North America, yet still thankfully without the crowds that some of the other bigger and better-known Colorado ski resorts can suffer from.
Geographically, the resort is located quite close to its more famous Summit County neighbour of Breckenridge, which lies just over the ridge of the Tenmile Range to the east. The nearest big town is Frisco, just 12 km to the north, and Colorado's arterial Interstate Highway 70 sweeps close by, meaning Copper Mountain is within convenient reach of the city of Denver and its international airport.
A unique feature of Copper Mountain's ski area is that it is naturally zoned in such a way as to match the constituent ability levels of its visitors: the western sector consists of almost entirely green-graded easy slopes; the central sector is perfect intermediate-level territory; whilst the eastern and uppermost sectors contain all of the advanced-level terrain.
This means that novices are safely tucked away from the faster action of the main pistes and won't stray on to any slopes that are beyond their capabilities; likewise, more advanced-level skiers and snowboarders aren't impeded by slow-moving or erratic beginners straying into their path.
Efficient access chairlifts provide uplift from each of the resort's three base areas: the fast Super Bee 6-seater from the East Village and the American Flyer from the Center Village providing direct links to the upper sectors, giving the greatest choice of onward links and routes for descents in the core ski area.
Freestyle enthusiasts are well served with three distinct dedicated areas: a learning zone served by the Kokomo chairlift over by the West Village; Copper Mountain's main terrain park served by the Union Creek chairlift out of the West Village; plus a superpipe directly above the Center Village base area.
Advanced and expert visitors have a nice selection of tree-lined home runs on the eastern side of the mountain, but are primarily drawn to Copper Mountain by the mogul fields, glades, steep chutes, and powder bowls of its uppermost sectors.
Another key feature is the ungroomed Tucker Mountain sector which lies on the far side of Copper Bowl, beyond the lift-served slopes, which nevertheless lies within the ski area boundary and is served by a free snowcat service.
Off the slopes and apres ski
The triple-centred layout of Copper Mountain's base-area village developments gives the resort a bit of scale and adds variety to a stay here; free shuttle-bus services connect each village, but all zones of the resort are also easily accessible on foot.
The pedestrian plazas and riverside West Lake areas at the Center Village are the lively commercial heart of the resort, whilst the welcoming slope-side terraces at each base area are the most animated daytime gathering places; the East Village base area is also the site of a floodlit snowtubing hill, open until 9pm most evenings.
The resort has a selection of shops and a few decent restaurants, some pleasant family-friendly lounges and a couple of lively bars: Jill's Umbrella Bar is generally the liveliest place for apres-ski happy hours; later on in the evening Mulligan's Irish bar is the prime spot as it's currently Copper's only late-night venue with a dancefloor.
Off-slope sports and leisure facilities are first class: the Copper Mountain Racquet and Athletic Club has a swimming pool, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, a fitness suite and racquetball courts, alongside a full-service spa; whilst the radical 'Woodward at Copper' freesports facility is a huge indoor playground and skills-development centre with Snowflex dry-slope jumps into foam pits, trampolines, skate bowls, and numerous other ski & board-sports jibbing and tricks practice modules.
Bars and clubs
Storm King Lounge
Alpinista Family Bistro
C B Grille